US Economy Lost 701,000 Jobs In March, Worst Report Since 2009

Lynda Lopez
April 03, 2020 - 8:03 pm

NEW YORK (WBCS 880) — The unemployment rate has surged in recent weeks and it appears the job market will only worsen as the coronavirus pandemic persists.

In March, the American economy lost more jobs than it gained for the first time in a decade.

According to the Labor Department, payrolls decreased by 701,000 in March as U.S. employers shed more jobs than in any month since the recession.

“A lot of economists had though that we wouldn’t see these big, huge numbers on the downside. They thought we’d lose 100-150 thousand jobs, 700,000 – not even close,” explains CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger.

She says the greatest loss was in the leisure and hospitality industry which saw a decline of 459,000 jobs.

“You can just look around New York and see the damage right there – food and drinking establishments,” Schlesinger said. “That is the vast majority of the job losses that we are seeing in the first part of this pandemic.”

Schlesinger stresses that nobody knows how long this decline will last and noted the April report is going to be significantly worse.

“We know that in the last two weeks, initial claims for unemployment benefits are up to 10 million across the country,” she said. “So, we could see a job loss in the millions when we get the April report in a month from now.”

She says: “We’re most assuredly in a recession right now.”

Schlesinger says she’s spoken to make economists who agree “the economy is in a recession and it is going to be a deep and painful recession.”

The big question is: How long is this going to last?

“I think it's fair to say that many of the economists, at least that I speak to, believe that a recession will be first, second, third quarter at the very least – maybe for the whole year and that we’ll really only come out of this come 2021,” Schlesinger said.